HP adds fault tolerance to blades

High availability is the main feature of HP's latest blade server as the company grows its family of c-Class systems

HP has added to its family of c-Class blade servers with the launch of its first fault-tolerant blade server for high-availability systems.

The HP Integrity NonStop NB50000c BladeSystem was designed as a mainframe replacement system for high transaction volumes but in a blade package, according to Dave Russell, Integrity product marketing manager, HP UK and Ireland.

"When we first designed the c-Class blade system [which was introduced in 2006] we specified launching it on a NonStop system at some point," Russell said. "The architecture was designed with that in mind."

HP's Non-Stop technology was originally acquired when the company bought Compaq in 1997, which in turn had acquired Non-Stop when it bought Tandem computers. The architecture offers reliability through sophisticated back-up software architectures. It allows HP to claim 99.999 percent (five nines) reliability or better (up to seven nines), according to Russell, which means there is little chance of losing information.

Fault-tolerant systems usually carry a high-price tag, and the HP Integrity NonStop is no exception. HP quotes an example price of £261,417 for the system. For that you get two HP NonStop cClass Server Blade processor bundles (with 8GB 1.6Ghz processors); two Storage Cluster I/O Modules (CLIMs); two IP CLIMs; 12 72GB disk drives; a 42U-high rack; a c7000 enclosure plus two MSA disk enclosure; and two HP cClass ServerNet switches, plus system console and cabling.

Additional 8GB HP Integrity NonStop C-Class Server Blade processor bundles are priced at £20,677.00 each, and are sold in pairs, according to HP.

Being HP's first NonStop blade is not the only innovation in the new server. "We are using 2.5-inch SAS storage drives as the standard disk for the first time in our blades," Russell said who believes that this helps reduce the footprint of the system as will the twin-cores of the processors in each blade.

"There is a new version of the operating system on the blade which means it will treat the two cores as one processor and when we get quad-core it means we can have SMP (Symmetric Multi-Processing) in a single processor," Russell said.

Since launching the c-Class blades, HP has rolled different versions of blade servers for different markets. In 2006 it launched it first storage blade and in 2007 came the company's first blade for its Integrity system. The NonStop blade server launched on Monday is arguably HP's most elaborate and expensive blade server to date.

HP Integrity NonStop NB50000c BladeSystem

HP Integrity NonStop NB50000c BladeSystem offers mainframe performance in a blade